Global Economics

Dinosaur Museum Moves to IP Telephony


The home of London's robot dinosaur, the Natural History Museum, is moving to an IP communications infrastructure to help its staff work more flexibly.

Museum staff will be able to use their IP-based work phones at home, instead of using mobiles when working out of the office.

South Kensington Museums group telecoms manager Bob Estcourt told silicon.com: "Basically this came about from the need to have people working offsite. We are migrating to IP across the museum anyway.

"We are moving forward with technology when we can if there is a cost benefit for us or for a work-life balance. We are a business and like any other we've got to be able to keep up with technology."

Estcourt added: "Many of the behind-the-scenes staff at the museum are in the process of writing papers.

"That's an awful lot of people that you don't see when you come to look at the dinosaurs. Museums share information around the world and do joint research - we have people everywhere."

The museum is currently trialling handsets with staff who use the phone most often, said Estcourt: "They are given a handset that gives them full access on the network as if they were in the office. You do need broadband for that but the majority of people have it anyway."

He hopes to have at least 50 staff teleworking in the first year.

The museum currently has around 250 extensions on IP and is migrating phones as it refurbishes buildings and moves people about.

The new infrastructure - made up of three Mitel 3300 IP Communication Platform systems and implemented by Universal - will offer "huge" long-term savings in productivity and call costs for home workers, Estcourt said.

It's likely to be two to three years before the migration is complete.

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